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Painted Oak Cabinets

Oak cabinets were popular twenty years ago, but today, they're stale.

My client loved her new granite countertops, but not her dark oak cabinets.
 The  cabinets were very good quality,... just tired, and they made the room seem dim.
(forgot to take the "before" photo, again!)

Initially, she wanted white cabinets, but chose Sherwin Williams Believable Buff (SW 6120)
because it related to the room's hard surfaces.
Once again, paint worked its magic.  The room looked brighter and fresher instantly.

If you're planning to paint oak cabinets or furniture, remember that oak has a definite grain.
When it's painted, that texture still remains on the surface of the wood.

If you choose to glaze the entire cabinet, the wood grain will magically reappear!
This wasn't what we wanted, so only the profile of the doors was enhanced.

Brush the glaze on, then wipe it off,  leaving just enough color to accent the profile of the door.

My client was delighted with the change, and hurried off to select new hardware for them.
Once the new tile backsplash is installed,  she'll have a "new" kitchen.



  1. Very nice :) Painting my kitchen cabinets is on my to do list. I love the new look in this kitchen.

  2. Thanks for the tip I had never thought of only glazing part of something. Looks fabulous.

  3. Looks great! I had my tired looking wood kitchen cabinets painted cream and what a difference it made! I really like the buff color you used.

  4. I am trying to paint my cabinets as well (same idea with freshening the kitchen with white), but Im having difficulty covering to old color of the cabinets (oak). Ive used the Kilz primer (2 coats) and am now on my 4th coat of paint and I can still see the wood?!? Wrong primer or paint? Its from lowes(valspar i think). Is it a cheap paint or am I doing something wrong?

    1. Hi Amber -
      Wish we were standing in your kitchen right now so we could look at this together. You're using quality products, so it's not likely they are causing your concern. It doesn't sound as though you are doing anything wrong.

      I'm assuming you're using paint that is specific for wood and wood trim -- not a wall paint, because you need a paint with more body and coverage. I use Sherwin Williams Pro-classic, and their All-Surface Latex Enamel for furniture and cabinets.

      And sometimes a third coat is needed to get the job done. I just used four coats of white paint to cover stained walnut trim, so I understand your frustration.

      When you say you see the wood -- is it the actual wood color, or is it the grain from the oak? Because typically when oak is painted, the grain texture will always be there, but the new color should hide the actual wood.

      Whether you are spraying the paint, or brushing it, try that third coat and let me know how you fare. You're tackling a big project, but you're almost there, so don't give up!

      Wishing you well,


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